Graduate Interview Question: Who Had the Greatest Influence on Your Choice to Become a Part of This Field?
“Choice? Please. My mom made me do it. I hate business. I wanted to go into art history, but she got all uppity and told me that there were no jobs in art history, and then she threatened to cut me off if I didn’t go to something more profitable. I’ll tell you what, though. If I get that other job I applied for at the museum, I am so moving out of her house the next day.”
Asking who helped you go into the field is a reasonable and not particularly difficult question to answer. In general, your goal is simply to do both of the following:
- Choose someone and a reason that will impress the employer.
- Make sure you sound like a professional/adult.
Your mom is the wrong answer. Unless they are well known in the field, anyone you are related to is the wrong answer. Your kindergarten teacher is also the wrong answer. You need to pick someone relevant to the employer, or try to explain how you discovered the field yourself.
“My grandpa was definitely my greatest influence. When I was 5, he used to tell me stories of when he worked as Sales Manager of ClosedDown, Inc. He made the work sound so fun and enjoyable…”
“It was not a person, but a class. I was studying for a degree in marketing, and one requirement was that I take a basic psychology course. After enrolling in ‘Introduction to Psychology’ I was immediately hooked. The content was fascinating, and although the professor himself did not necessarily stand out, the material was so interesting that I spent the entire summer studying some of the latest research in the field…”
Or, if you have someone specific you can mention, use them as an example. Make sure you justify it well and, again, make sure you sound like a business professional with your explanation.
Take Away Interview Tips
- Avoid family unless they are well known in the field.
- Sound like a business professional with your reasoning.